Have you heard that it’s important in life to have relationships like a compass? If you haven’t, I promise I’m not crazy and let me explain what I mean. To explain it very briefly, we need to have relationships of people ahead of us in life that we can look up to, behind us in life that we can pour into, and those in the same stage of life that we can walk alongside with. Ultimately, each of these relationships we pour into and are challenged to grow as well. One such “same stage of life” compass relationship that we have is with the Wong family. Now you see the title above that says Tharp is the last name of this group, and you’re not wrong, Lori is originally from the Tharp family. Her awesome parents, Colleen & Kim, live on a farm in Hastings and her brother, Jason, also lives nearby. Lori met an amazing man named Stephen while in college, got married, and moved back into the Twin Cities area 6 years ago. They now have four beautiful kids. Getting to photograph their family the past few years has been an honor and now getting to also photograph her brother and her parents? Even more so!
We met Stephen and Lori shortly after they moved back to Cottage Grove – we each only had one child. They had visited our church and then within a week or two, we laughed as we ran into them in our city twice. Cottage Grove isn’t the smallest place, so we took that as way more than a coincidence and were excited to have friends in our stage of life together. I wouldn’t just use the term friends with these two anymore. In fact, Mark and I say that if we were to get married all over again tomorrow, we would be surprised if these two weren’t in our bridal party. We’ve had so many moments to watch these two grow in their relationships with God, with each other, and as parents these past six years; each time we get together with them, we’re amazed at their humble hearts, grace as parents and desire to grow. We’re not kidding when we say they’ve left us better humans – we’ve personally taken some of their family “isms” and adopted them in our own. The latest way they’ve amazed us? Opening up their home to exchange students. I mean, we have three kids, and we know how busy (and chaotic) life gets, so to have the humility to welcome someone into a family of four kids amidst a COVID world is absolutely amazing and shows their heart to love others so sacrificially. And while we’ve talked up these two, we’ve also seen that it definitely comes from Lori’s family as well. Jason loves on his nieces and nephews so much, and Colleen & Kim have opened their home to our church’s young families multiple times for a fall festival – yes, think hay rides, adorable pumpkins, bonfires, and all.
Tharp extended family, thanks for trusting me to document this precious stage of life and for being those who walk the journey of life so beautifully!
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Hey! We're Mark & Lindsay Wiggins, husband and wife Minnesota photographers. Click here to find out more about us.